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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spice it Up with Sewing

Before we purchased the home we live in, my husband bought us a pair of white wooden rocking chairs for the porch he always wanted to have. The chairs sat in my in-laws basement, in the box, until Christmas 2008 when we decided to assemble the chairs and sit in the living room in front of the fireplace. I wish I had pictures of that! The chairs went back to the basement, now assembled, for another 11 months until we moved into our house. We took our Christmas card picture sitting in the chairs.

I am petite, at 5'5 the deep chairs were sometimes uncomfortable for me to sit in. In order to solve my dilemma, I made my own pillows this weekend! At the craft store the pillow forms were 50% off and I found a beautiful home fabric that is red, orange, yellow, blue and lime green - perfect for our chairs. I decided 14x14 would be a good size (although I could have gone up to 16x16).

*Unfortunately the colors look dull in my photos compared to in person*

I chose to make simple pillow covers because this was the first time I made something other than a blanket or baby burp cloth. I planned to allow for 1/2 hem on each side of the pillow, but made a 15" square for the front and two rectangles for the back. The two rectangles were 15" on the long edge and then 9.5" (1/2 of square length + 2.5") on the short edge. this meant that the rectangles on the back overlapped.


I finished the straight edges of the rectangles by folding under the raw edge and folding again using a basic straight stitch. One that was done, I pinned everything together and simply sewed around the whole square. Then I turned it right side out.

The finished product adds a cheerful spot to our front porch and I couldn't be happier with them!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Bathroom Transformation Complete

I hate to admit it, but several weeks ago I painted our master bathroom. I am not ashamed to admit I painted the bathroom, I'm actually overjoyed that I did it, but the shame comes in the form of taking so long to put all the pieces back together. Of course the first part was selecting the color. Since the bathroom is connected to our bedroom, I opted for colors on the same paint card and went two and three shades darker. When you look at the samples below, I chose the darker color on the right.

I taped and painted everything between breakfast and dinner one Saturday in June. The problems started as I took off the painters tape. The paint on our ceilings and walls is flat builder's grade paint since we built a new home. Therefore, some of the ceiling paint came off with the tape which I did not expect. At this point I waited for my husband to come home and defended myself telling him that I did take the tape off in sections as soon as I finished taping.

The first thought was to paint the ceiling gray, but I like contrast too much so that wasn't an option after ten minutes. Then we started to prime the ceiling and repaint it which would also cover any "slips" of paint that got under the painter's tape onto the ceiling. This didn't help either. Finally, we applied painter's tape on the gray paint and the satin finish prevented any peeling. I touched up the edges along the ceiling and wa-la - problem solved! And then we went out of town several times and were still using the guest bathroom.

Well, this weekend I got out the white paint and touched up the baseboards and trim so all the lines are smooth and the bathroom now looks like an add for Behr paint (even though that isn't the brand I used). I am so relieved it is done and clean and everything is back where it should be!

I did intend to spruce up the basic mirrors, but since my plans for the mirrors will take a few days to shop for, create, dry and install, I opted to wait until the fall when we don't have as much landscaping work to do.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The House was Shaking

This morning at 5am my bed and bedroom windows started shaking. I got an awful feeling in my stomach and was nervous as what it could be. No way it was an earthquake, in Maryland nonetheless, but that sure is what it felt like. Brad went out to survey the house and look outside and then fell back asleep on the couch. I stayed in bed and less than ten minutes later felt another shake.

Well, I was right, it WAS an earthquake, can you believe it? It was 3.6 magnitude and the largest to hit our area since 1978. Here is the quick online article from the Post:

Mild earthquake felt across region

A 3.6 magnitude earthquake rattled the Washington area early Friday, with thousands of residents reporting that they felt the ground shake as they slept or were waking. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered in Montgomery County and struck at 5:04 a.m.
The epicenter was in the Germantown-Gaithersburg area near I-270 and Route 119 (39.145°N, 77.222°W), USGS reported in a preliminary finding. Its depth was 3.1 miles.
"The whole house shook," said Carroll Ripley, of Germantown. "I thought maybe there was an explosion or a plane flew over the house or something."
"I went straight outside to do a perimeter check -- in my underwear," she said.
Authorities in the District and Montgomery and Arlington counties said there were no early reports of damage. Still, many residents were dialing 911 to report the rumbling.
“We are getting flooded with calls,” a Montgomery County police spokesperson said.
No traffic or transit delays were reported by local agencies, and the quake seemed unlikely to have any effect on the morning rush. Buses and trains were running on time, officials said.
Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist with the USGS, said the quake was the largest recorded within about 45 miles of Germantown since a database was created to track such activity in 1974. The largest earthquake before Friday morning's was a 2.7 tremor in 1993, Vaughan said. There was a 2.6 magnitude tremor in 1990 and quakes measuring 2.5 in 1997, 1993 and 1974.
"It’s not something that’s completely out of the ordinary," Vaughan said.
At the same time, quakes measuring above 3 are extremely rare in this area. Vaughan said the number of people reporting the quake to the USGS illustrated how unusual it seemed to residents of the mid-Atlantic states.
Within about two hours of the quake, more than 6,700 people had reported the quake on the agency's Web site. Most were from the District, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware but reports came from far away as New York and Georgia.
Many found it thrilling.
"It felt like the earth was churning," said Linda Wheeler, of Monrovia, Md. "I knew it was an earthquake right away because it was unlike anything I've ever experienced. It was actually kinda cool."
David Hayes, of Boyds, was getting dressed when he said he heard a loud rumbling. “I opened my front door and yelled 'earthquake' toward my neighbor, great way to start the day!” he said.
Geologists note that earthquakes can occur anytime and anywhere. They are a natural phenomenon resulting from the shifting movements of continental plates under the Earth's surface. "There are faults from when continents were moving and forming and shifting," Vaughan said. "These faults just naturally exist and over time they build up pressure."
When the pressure is released at a high enough intensity, an earthquake results.
The earliest recorded earthquake in Maryland occurred in Annapolis on April 24, 1758 and lasted a full 30 seconds, according to a history posted on the USGS Web site.
There have been other tremors reported periodically in the region through the years. None caused any significant damage, according to the Web site.
Dean Miletich, of Frederick, said he was taking out the trash when the quake hit.
“When I came back into the garage, everything on the shelves was shaking,” he said. “It sounded like a deep rumble. When I came back inside, my wife had woken up and asked me, 'What did you do?'”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Garden is Growing

We have vegetables (and flowers)!! We have been enjoying zucchini, yellow squash, snap peas and tomatoes from our garden. After biting into a tomato from our yard, we are forced to ask: Why do store bought versions taste so awful??



Little Girls

Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that's what little girls are made of

There is one little girl in my life, thanks to one of my dearest friends, and her name is Charlotte.

She was born in February 2009 and I haven’t seen her since she was a newborn until this past weekend. We traveled to Georgia and stayed with Charlotte’s grandparents (and mom and uncles and aunts) for the long weekend. She sure has changed a lot!

I stalked her like the paparazzi and also tried to capture moments with her mom so they could send to da-da/husband in Kuwait where he is deployed. I even think I heard her say “tiger” a few times while we were reading about them (the animal, not the Clemson team). Here is a short video of her entertaining us at dinner and blowing kisses.

Her mom is pregnant with another little girl so Charlotte will be a big sister in September.

Doesn’t she have the biggest brown eyes?? She is mostly sugar with a hint of spice, or at least that was the case on Sunday evening ;).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Does Bigger = Better?

Less than one week after purchasing our Nikon, we had the annual family reunion. This was the perfect excuse to walk around with my camera all day, taking candids of many generations enjoying each other’s company. The reunion was for my husband’s family (his dad’s side). My father-in-law, Paul, has eight brothers and sisters. Five of them see each other regularly, one lives in West Virginia and three have passed away. The spouses of two of the three siblings who have passed away are still involved with the family and they were at the reunion too.

Here are the siblings who attended this year’s reunion (youngest to oldest). Do you see the family resemblance?

If I’m counting right, there were four generations eating side-by-side and it was great. Now, our immediate family only had two generations at the table, but hey, one day there will be more.

I grew up in a small family. My mother has two siblings and my father has one sister. Although my dad’s family still lives in Connecticut (his parents have since passed away) we didn’t see each other much at all growing up. My mom’s family is scattered from Illinois to Miami and places in between.

When we moved to the DC metro area in 2007, I was amazed at how much of Brad’s family stayed within an hour of where they were born and raised. It makes for large family gatherings full of conversation, humor and lots of food. It took me a few family functions to get acclimated to “the crowd” but I am now used to it and can’t imagine a holiday with less than a table full of people.